Jade Mills is consistently ranked as one of the top real estate agents in the US; she's known for working on super high-end deals with celebrities and other richies and for specializing in properties in the best parts of Beverly Hills. She's also a total delight and terrifically candid (unlike a lot of brokers, she's not afraid to drop a big name owner in a listing), and for Whale Week she regaled us with some tales of working with the superrich.
The Ice King and Queen: Mills represented a Russian couple who were trying to sell their house in Bel Air--a house they kept at a frosty 38 degrees (they apparently had to have some kind of special air conditioning put in--the wife thought the cold was good for her skin). They wore fur coats around! She had to tell people to dress warmly for showing. But she did sell the place.
The Loner Billionaire: Like a lot of brokers, Mills stresses that service is very important to high-end clients: "being able to accommodate their schedules, being able to put the time aside, being able to make them feel very special." One "very famous billionaire" client would only check out a house if it was completely empty of other people--no staff, no other brokers, no one. So she'd do a sweep and make sure everyone was gone before bringing him in. He would take "longer than normal to see the house and to feel the house," but at least he was able to get their true, empty essence.
The Paparazzi-Magnets: More whale service advice: "We know that they're really busy and we do our best so we can get them in and get them out without people really seeing them ... that goes from celebrities to billionaires who really don't like to be seen." She says paparazzi have trapped famous clients in cul-de-sacs and that she sometimes puts cardboard in her back windows or brings her husband along to ride shotgun while the celebrity ducks in the back.
The Internationals: Surprisingly, Mills has seen a ton of high-end Canadian buyers lately (they tend to like Beverly Hills). Less surprisingly, she also works with a lot of Chinese buyers (also Beverly Hills) and Russians (Bel Air). A lot of international buyers think they're going to get a lot of land in Los Angeles and are disappointed to find out large lots are rare.
The Bathing Celebrity: Mills brought a celebrity to check out a house in Beverly Hills; the celeb asked if she could stay and take a bath in the bathtub. The other broker called the seller, who said it was ok, but that she was planning on being home at 6:30. The celeb took her bath and then decided she wanted to stay and get ready for the evening too. The seller signed off again. Eventually the celebrity asked to stay the night. The seller figured that was ok if it helped sell the house, so she got a hotel room and the celebrity bedded down. The next morning, everyone returned to the house, the celeb made an offer, the papers were drawn up, and she bought the place.
· Whale Week 2013 [Curbed LA]